The Big Apple has gone through a lot in the last few decades, so it doesn’t surprise most to learn that there is a significant number of citizens with depression in New York City. While those outside of the city mainly see the bright lights of Broadway or the natural oasis of Central Park, a significant percentage of New Yorkers have shown the telltale sadness, loneliness, and anxiety that comes with depression. To address this issue, scientists and researchers have been gathering data across the city, hoping to find patterns of causation. Is this an issue of shared NYC trauma, or is this further proof of a more significant problem across the U.S.? Read further to learn more about depression in New York City.
Depression is a mental health condition that usually manifests in pervasive low, sad moods, a loss of interest in activities, low energy, impaired concentration and disturbances in sleep and appetite. The complex illness can be difficult to understand due to the variety of ways it can manifest in patients. Some are genetically predisposed to the illness, others experience it after significant emotional or physical trauma. Either way, depression is associated with low dopamine or serotonin levels in the brain. The condition can have debilitating effects on the body, making everyday activities extremely difficult.
While the illness is associated with physical inactivity, alcohol and substance use, and poor diet, it is likely that these are results or coping mechanisms for symptoms, rather than their root cause. More people are diagnosed with depression each year, and the amount of people affected in NYC has brought some scientists’ concern.
Who is Depressed?
While the number of people diagnosed with depression rose after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, population sweeping depression has been a problem in New York City for many years. In 2014, a study showed that 8.3% of adults in New York City had symptomatic depression, equaling about 500,000 people. Within the timespan of the global pandemic, this number has increased. In 2020, stressors related to COVID-19 increased for nearly all demographics, including a significant percentage of children. Some believe that, today, 1 in 3 people have symptoms of depression.
Depression can stem from personal tragedy, abuse, work, or other stressors. While people of every race, gender, age, and class have been diagnosed, the likelihood of depression forming increases with socioeconomic inequality. New Yorkers who show signs of depression are likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods, are likely lacking college or high school education, and/or are unemployed. According to the same 2014 study, women were more likely than men to show symptoms, and New York City’s Latinx communities revealed higher reported rates of depressed individuals than other communities.
Unfortunately, more than half of people showing symptoms are not currently seeking counseling or medication, and of those diagnosed, about 39% are not in treatment.
While there are a number of stereotypes regarding New Yorker attitudes, these studies show there is a significant mood shift in the population, and the effects of this societal burden have already begun to show through decreased morale and everyday motivation. It is more crucial than ever to understand how this disorder can affect a population in order to negate any overarching effects it may have on the city.
Why is It Happening?
There are a number of reasons why depression is hitting New Yorkers so hard. Pre-pandemic depression was being regularly studied as researchers have found a significant portion of the Millennial and Gen-Z populations being diagnosed. Due to the increased fear and isolation caused by the pandemic, these numbers are going up across the nation, though this increase may be the result of many events. New York City has gone through a significant number of traumatic events over the last 20 years. For example, many who were children during the 9-11 terrorist attacks are now adults living with the memories of city-wide trauma on top of a number of economic and social changes. This event on top of recessions, school shootings, and political unrest could be a main cause for statewide symptoms. As important as treating the symptoms is for current sufferers of this condition, the causes must be researched to promote awareness and prevention.
While there have been great leaps to change societal views of those with mental health problems, there is still stigma and lack of understanding in this area. People may be underreporting for fear of backlash from family or friends, a lack of trust in the medical community, or the denial of experiencing symptoms.
What is The Solution?
An increase in resources to psychiatric research would help the medical community dig deeper into the source of these problems and find solutions. The increased levels with certain demographics illustrate the inarguable need for socioeconomic reform and increased health resources for high-risk communities.
On the individual level, it is essential for those experiencing symptoms of depression to seek the help of mental health professionals. Speaking to a therapist openly and honestly will help you find the main source of your symptoms and help you find solutions for them. Depressive symptoms are also often responsive to antidepressant medications.
There are many specialists residing in NYC who provide treatment for those experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
These are not always foolproof methods, however. There are many diagnosed with mental illnesses that either cannot find relief with medication or are prone to experiencing negative side effects. Thankfully, there are effective, alternate forms of treatment such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS).
Mid City TMS Ready to Help With Depression in NYC
Mid City TMS is a depression treatment option for New Yorkers. Founder Dr. Bryan Bruno was one of the first psychiatrists to provide TMS services in New York, and he has brought many hundreds of patients depression relief since 2009. He is a recognized expert in psychopharmacology and the treatment of complex mood disorders, including Major Depression. TMS is a painless, non-invasive and effective treatment. To learn more about our TMS NYC services visit our website.